Politics… and Beware Of It.. The Lebanese Parliamentary Elections, 2018: The Reproduction of the Ruling Class and the Conflict between Alternatives

This paper is a case study about the 2018 Lebanese Parliamentary elections, and it is written by researcher Mona Khneiser the researcher at AFA as an edition of the follow up papers that the Forum publish regularly.

This paper examines the success or failure of the recent Lebanese Parliamentary elections, which took place under a new electoral law, in making a real change at the level of the ruling political elite. This paper highlights the experience of civic initiatives that have contested the traditional power parties through elections, and examines the results of the elections based on the success or failure of these forces to bring real change from inside by breaking the monopoly of traditional political parties of political action. It also studies whether these candidates’ electoral discourse has succeeded in proposing a real alternative to the policies of the ruling elite.

The paper is divided to four sections. The first one presents a general description of the popular scene during the elections, indicating that the latter happened upon incomplete legitimacy of the ruling class from the people, it then explains the rise of alternative initiatives in the face of traditional authority. In its second section, the paper explains the new electoral law indicating its gaps and problems. The third one talks about the most prominent alliances and campaigns focusing on the civil ones, and criticizing, at the same time, its alternative political discourse, as well as the weak participation of women. And the final section studies the election results upon the main questions mentioned above.

According to the paper, the new electoral law reproduced the same political ruling elite, and excluded the forces aspiring to change except for one candidate. The paper considers that the elections’ most dangerous result is that the alternative candidates themselves turned towards the absence of policy in their work by presenting themselves as the “best” alternatives to managing the current system “from within”. It also criticizes these candidates’ political discourse, arguing that it does not propose any real alternative to the ruling elites’ policies, and indicating that these candidates focused on combating corruption as a scourge outside the neo-liberal political and economic system.
Full version available in Arabic: https://bit.ly/2UbUPkC

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